Brookline War Memorial
Bernard J. Boyle

United States Air Force (1947-present)

Captain Bernard J. Boyle
United States Air Force (1964-1969)

Bernard J. Boyle

Brookline Flier Killed Off Japan

Air Force Says Jet Crashed Into Sea

A Brookline man has been identified by the Air Force as one of two fliers killed when their jet plane crashed off the coast of Japan.

Officials said Captain Bernard J. Boyle, 26, whose parents live at 821 Rossmore Avenue, was lost when his aircraft went down on Tuesday, August 19, (Pittsburgh time) while returning from a training mission to Misawa Air Force Base.

The plane was piloted by Major Neal Graff of Riverside, California.

Captain Boyle's parents said his wife, Sharon, is expecting a baby soon.

A graduate of South Hills Catholic High School and Wheeling College, Captain Boyle entered the Air Force in 1964.

He arrived in Japan in October of 1967 and was assigned to the 356th Tactical Fighter Squadron.

Besides his wife and parents, he is survived by two brothers, William G. and Robert E. of Sufferin, NY, and two sisters, Mrs. Barbara B. Wikert and Mrs. Bernadette Delach of Waynesburg.

Memorial services will be held at the Church of the Resurrection, 1100 Creedmoor Avenue, Brookline.

* Reprinted from the Pittsburgh Press - August 23, 1969 *

356th Tactical Fighter Squadron

During the Vietnam War, the 356th Tactical Fighter Squadron, was deployed to Misawa Air Base, Japan, on March 16, 1965. Assigned to the 39th Air Division, the squadron's mission was to support Misawa in Japan, along with Taegu Air Base and Kunsan Air Base in South Korea, all of which had just been reactivated.

From Misawa, aircraft and personnel of the 356th rotated six F-100D aircraft every ten days to Kunsan and Taegu performing Nuclear alert duty. The 356th was on a TDY status to Misawa Air Base until August 13, 1965, when it was permanently reassigned to the 39th Air Division.

In August 1967, the F-100's were sent to Vietnam as replacement aircraft and the squadron converted to the F-4C-16-MC Phantom II. On January 15, 1968, the 475th Tactical Fighter Wing was activated at Misawa and took over as host unit from the 39th Air Division.

On January 23, 1968, as a response to the capture by the North Koreans of the USS Pueblo, the 356th was immediately dispatched to Kunsan. For a week, the squadron was the only nuclear deterrent at Kunsan. The unit returned to Misawa and continued their operational duties until 1971, when it was reassigned to Myrtle Beach AFB.

USAF F4 Phantom II

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The following was written by Captain Bernard Boyle's niece Sharon Jean Senaway:

Bernie was born on September 16, 1942, the fourth child, and third son, born to Eugene J. Boyle and Catherine Galvin Boyle, who resided in the Brookline area of the city of Pittsburgh. He was the beloved brother to Barbara Boyle Wikert and William G. Boyle, Robert E. Boyle and Bernadette Boyle Delach.

Bernie grew up in Brookline on Rossmore Avenue and attended Resurrection School for eight years, where he served as an altar boy at Sunday masses. Bernie loved participating in sports, having participated in Little League baseball. His high school years were spent attending South Hills Catholic High School (now known as Seton LaSalle), located in Mt. Lebanon. He graduated in the first graduating class of 1960 at the all male high school. He was a member of the band for three years as a trumpeter. He was a well-liked student and participated in many activities during his time in high school.

Bernie went on to attend Wheeling College in Wheeling, West Virginia, were he proudly graduated on May 17, 1964 with a Bachelor of Arts degree.

In 1964 Bernie entered the United States Air Force. He was stationed at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas in November 1965. He went on to serve at Air Force bases in Selma, Alabama and Florida. In Alabama he took his initial flight training and met his future wife, Sharon Edwards. They were married in Selma on April 1, 1967. While stationed in Florida, Bernie went through advanced fighter training.

Bernieís overseas tour commenced on October 25, 1967, when he and Sharon Edwards Boyle arrived at Misawa Air Force Base in Japan. The base was located very close to Eastern Russia, in the northern most part of Japan called Aomori province. He was assigned to the 356th Tactical Fighter Squadron.

USAF-T33 Shooting Star

On August 20, 1969, Captain Bernard J. Boyle was a pilot on a USAFT-33 aircraft along with co-pilot Major Neal Graff of California. The pilots were on an operational training mission returning to Misawa Air Force Base. They were approximately twenty-eight nautical miles east of the base when the aircraft went down mysteriously off the coast of Japan into the Sea of Japan. Search craft found the helmets of Captain Boyle and Major Graff but were unable to locate the aircraft at that time, according to Air Force records.

At that time, Bernieís wife, Sharon, was expecting the coupleís first child and she gave birth to a baby girl on August 29, 1969, just nine days after her husband's disappearance. The baby was named Bonnie Bridget Boyle. Bonnie will turn fifty later this month. She is married to Joe LeFebvre and they have three wonderful sons; Tyler, Brandon and Eathan. Bonnie and family call Uxbridge, Massachusetts, their home. Sharon eventually remarried. She and her husband Ross Detwiler went on to have two children.

The loss of Bernie left so many heartbroken. Bernie was loved by his parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins. Fifty years have passed and there is not a day that goes by that we donít think of him. We thank Uncle Bernie for the love he gave to all of us while on this earth, and especially for the service and sacrifice he made for this country.

God Bless you Uncle Bernie. You are never forgotten.

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Brookline Veteran's Park - April 26, 2014.

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